Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, August 29, 2015
2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

CYO champions 2015

Home : Faith/Spirituality : Archbishop Vlazny's Past Columns
3/6/2012 9:46:00 AM
Catholic Crossfire

Archbishop John Vlazny


It’s Presidents’ Day as I prepare this column.  By the time you read this I should already be in Israel with more than 95 pilgrims on a visit to the holy places where Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and rose from the dead.  The pilgrims and I will have much to pray about during our time away from western Oregon.  Some potential serious conscience problems have arisen as a result of the Federal Health Reform Law.  The issue has divided Catholics, and as a bishop and pastor, I feel caught in some hostile crossfire.

It is an election year.  Many priests dread election years because our own Catholic people are frequently and openly divided about the issues and the candidates.  Partisan divisions about candidates are understandable.  But political differences about matters like conscience rights and religious freedom are more than troublesome.  We Americans have enjoyed freedom of conscience in federal law until now.  The media isn’t helping because it chooses to obfuscate the conversation by focusing on “women’s health issues” and Catholic teaching about the importance of chastity in sexual activities.

To be honest, I was very grateful I was not testifying before Congress, as was my brother bishop, William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut in mid-February.  He had been invited to express the concerns we Catholic bishops have with the current administration’s plan to require us Catholics to violate our consciences in order to assure that contraception and sterilization are readily available for all people.  Why am I concerned?  Well, immediately three women legislators skirted the issue at hand, namely, religious freedom, and rudely interrupted the testimony with this query, “Where are the women?”  Unfortunately, the panel that had been brought together by the chairman of the committee included five men, no women.  Not too smart a move these days.  I could have quickly mustered some very articulate, intelligent and faithful women who could have defended religious freedom as well as any man.  The legislators knew that, but anything to distract attention from the real issue. 

Because we are talking about the availability of contraception and abortion, many women see this as their issue and men should stay out.  But both men and women play a role in the procreation of offspring.  Obviously women carry a heavier burden, but the responsibility for new life belongs to both parties.  Sad to say, many men don’t live up to their responsibility.  I can understand the anger of women.

Then just before Lent I received a “Dear John” letter from a Portland attorney.  His hang-up was contraception.  He was so blinded by his personal acceptance of contraception that he too skirted the real issue at hand concerning religious liberty.  Many Catholics find themselves in the same position.  They look upon chastity as an outmoded virtue.  They no longer make an effort to strive to lead a chaste life.  Casual sex is so widespread in the secular culture that this unhappy man was left to conclude that “the bishops do not speak with authority on matters of sexuality and particularly on matters of contraception.”  In fact, he seems to have given up so much on advancing the cause of sexual morality that he stated, “If you and your brother bishops truly oppose abortion, then you must support contraception.”  Talk about throwing in the towel.

The health care mandate, which certainly involves women, and men too, and also facilitates immoral sexual behavior, most seriously violates the consciences of so many of us with regard to religious freedom.  Catholic individuals, communities and institutions are being compelled to make available and actually pay for procedures and so-called medications that denigrate chastity as a virtue worth embracing.

Nowadays many people are quite upset about widespread pornography, readily available through the media, both material and virtual.  Must a Catholic salesman include pornographic materials on his magazine rack in order to facilitate the immoral choices of some of his customers?  I don’t think so.  Why in the world would our government expect a Catholic hospital or charitable organization to provide services and items for sale that go against their conscience?  That has never been the practice in our nation and there is no need for it to become the practice of the American people. 

Yes, the decision of the administration would allow organizations with religious objections to the requirement that all health insurance plans cover contraceptives and sterilization to decline to cover them.  But it would compel the insurers to provide contraceptives free of charge to those they insure.  In other words, religious employers will be required to “include the same objectionable coverage as secular employers do” – but the decision to do so, “will soon be taken away from them, as the coverage will be inserted into their plan directly by the insurer over their objections,” as recently stated by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo Chairman of the Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee. 

The way things stand now the only way to make a change that would accommodate Americans’ right of conscience is legislation.  The hope is that a law will be passed that would not forbid those who provide, sponsor or purchase health coverage from negotiating a health plan that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.  There is time to find such an accommodation and we all hope and pray that this will be resolved quickly. 

Some people, including Catholics, see the stand of the Catholic bishops as one in opposition to our current President and therefore a matter of partisan politics.  Frankly, any student of Catholic social teaching understands very well that no political party embraces the full spectrum of Catholic social teaching.  I wish it were otherwise, but the right wing won’t support the church on immigration reform and the safety net for the poor.  The left, on the other hand, is intolerant of our demand for religious freedom, particularly when it comes to sexuality and marriage.  Long ago Jesus said that some evil can only be overcome by prayer.  This is a struggle with evil, not with evil people.  We all make mistakes. 

We have a responsibility to say, “Wrong.  Let’s make it right.”  And so, let us work and pray, humbly, fervently and perseveringly, while doing our best to dodge the ill effects of our current Catholic crossfire.

 

 





Advanced Search













Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2015 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved